The “Golden Years” can oft be not so bright. While the retirement years are often depicted as a time of contentment spent enjoying the fruits of decades of labor and raising a family, many seniors are dealing with an incredibly depressing and isolating phase of life. In addition to inevitable aches and pains associated with aging, seniors also often have the emotional struggle of dealing with the loss of a spouse or close friends – all while feeling that they may be a burden to children who now need to lend a hand in their care.
Although it may not be commonly talked about, seniors are the highest risk age group for suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the overall suicide rate in the United States is 11 deaths per 100,000 people. For individuals 65 and over, that number rises to 14 deaths per 100,000 people, concerning many that as thousands of Baby Boomer reach their Golden Years, the number of senior suicides may see a disconcerting increase.
The Power of Prevention
According to a recent article on NBCNews.com, the number of resources for depressed and at-risk seniors are less than those available to teens and other high-risk populations. However, helping seniors recognize their depression and seek help early can be key in preventing and curbing suicidal thoughts.
One potential avenue for help is via in-home services provided by a home care agency utilizing a home care software or home care system to manage care. Home care in itself can lend a listening ear in the form of a compassionate caregiver, which is what many seniors are looking for to help ease emotional pain. In fact, according to Patrick Arbore, founder of the San Francisco-based Friendship Line, nearly 3,000 seniors call his elderly-focused suicide prevention line every month, with nearly 2/3 simply looking for a listening ear to chat with.
For seniors utilizing in-home care, home care software or a home care system, such as ClearCare, can be utilized to help schedule tasks for something as simple as companionship – a cup of coffee or game of cards that allows seniors time to connect with another person. Additionally, home care software and a robust home care system that allows for tracking of client conditions can be a major aide in helping loved ones and other care providers track the moods of seniors. For example, a general comment left via the home care software or home care system can alert loved ones to any concerning moods or statements made by a senior, who can then log-in to a secure portal of the home care system to view real-time updates from caregivers in the field.
Senior Life Is Sacred
While seniors utilizing the services of a home care provider may be able to benefit from the safety net that a compassionate caregiver and home care software or home care system, such as ClearCare, provides, there are still millions of seniors that need help.
As a society, we must remember that senior life is just as sacred as that of individuals at any other age. Advocating for senior suicide and depression support resources, and simply recognizing the signs of depression can help seniors feel like there are other options and paths available to a fulfilling, joyful life at any age.